By Roy Lie Atjam
The Hague, 16th August 2022. Ms Jacqueline Meier, Director of the Atrium City Hall, welcomed one and all to the Atrium, next, Mr Jan Van Zanen, Mayor of The Hague, expressed his gratitude for having such an exceptional exhibition in The Hague, the city of peace and justice.
The next speaker at the opening was Mr Jan Paul Buijs, Representative of the Picaflores Foundation. The time was now for H.E. Ms Marisol Flavia Aguero Colunga, Ambassador of Peru, to inaugurate the exhibition, Touched by Nature by the Amazonian School of Arts. The exhibition is in cooperation with Picaflores Foundation and Atrium City Hall in The Hague.
Ambassador Marisol Flavia Guero Colunga delivered the following speech.
“It is an honor for the Embassy of Peru, in association with Picaflores Foundation and the Atrium City Hall, to welcome you to this unique exhibition of 18 painters of the Neo-Amazonian School of Art from the city of Pucallpa, Peru, exhibition organized to raise awareness of the little known and fragile ecosystem of the Cerrado Savanah, located in the Brazilian highlands, as well as of the Amazonian forest, which are interdependent.
I would like to thank Mister Jan van Zanen, for his kind words – I know that you keep precious memories from Peru in your heart-, as well as Miss Jacqueline Meir, for hosting this exhibition in the Atrium City Hall, an important forum of Cultural and Social Activities in The Hague. I also want to express my gratitude to Mister Jan Paul Buijs, Representative of Picaflores Foundation, for the organization of this wonderful exhibition, and to Mister Luc Vankrunkelsven, a prominent researcher on agricultural issues and author of several books on the Cerrado ecosystem, for joining us today.
In this short speech I would like to refer to the Peruvian Amazonian Forest and to the Peruvian painters participating in this exhibition.
62% of the Peruvian territory is covered by the Amazonian Forest, one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet. Although there are still many zoological and botanical species to be discovered and scientifically classified, so far we know that we have there 15 thousand animal species and more than 20 thousand botanical species, including medicinal plants.
In order to properly preserve this natural wealth, the Peruvian government has established more than 50 protected natural areas in the Amazonian Forest, which amounts to 10% of the Peruvian territory.
Concerning the population, it is interesting to note that, despite having the lowest population density in Peru, which is only 8%, the Peruvian Amazonian forest is the home of 64 tribes that speak 44 languages appertaining to 19 different linguistic families.
It is within that rich context, that we found a marvelous group of artists from the Usko Ayar School of Art in the city of Pucallpa, founded by the shaman and visionary artist Pablo Amaringo. I refer to the painters of the Neo-Amazonian style. And I welcome the presence of Mrs. Mita Lozano, one outstanding representative of them. Through their art, whose origins date back to the Amazonian cave paintings, they introduce us to a universe where people live in harmony with animals, plants and rivers. Their paintings show their knowledge and traditions, and, even more importantly, they transmit a philosophy of respect to nature and the environment, raising awareness of the need to preserve the ecosystems of the Amazonian Forest and those related to them, such as the Cerrado Savannah.
For all this, I should express my warmest congratulations to the talented painters of Pucallpa that today share with us their beautiful art and wise philosophy.
Finally, I have to say that at the end of these presentations, we will be delighted to share with you Pisco Sour, the traditional Peruvian drink, as well as some Peruvian canapés.”
There was an undeniable festive atmosphere at the reception with a free flow of excellent Peruvian goodies. Members of the diplomatic community came out in strength, among them Ambassadors of Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Malta, Panama, Costa Rica and diplomats from Argentina, El Salvador, Chile, Poland, just to mention a few. Further friends of Picaflores came from Brussels and Gent in Belgium, all attracted by the surpassing exhibition.